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VMA ratings rise

September 10, 2008|Denise Martin

Even without a live performance, Britney Spears worked her magic for the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. More than 8.4 million viewers tuned in to Sunday's three-hour show, up 19% over last year (and 46% higher than the 2006 tally).

Spears' heavily hyped kickoff to the 25th edition of the VMAs included no more than a taped bit with "Superbad" star Jonah Hill and a 30-second introduction, but the night gave the pop star the comeback she tried to achieve last year: Her clip for "Piece of Me" was awarded three moon men -- the pop star's first VMA wins -- including the video of the year prize.

In 2007, she opened the show with a robotic, low-energy performance of "Gimme More."

According to Nielsen, the VMAs grew 15% among MTV's core 12-to-34-year-old audience over last year, making it the No. 1 telecast in that demographic this year. The red-carpet pre-show was up 32% in the demographic.

Boosts in VMA viewership are a coup for MTV. The pop culture fest dipped to all-time rating lows in 2006, and the channel has drawn criticism in recent years for high-gloss, overproduced events. Sunday's show had "live music video" performances from the likes of Pink and rapper T.I. by utilizing Paramount Studios' back lot.

-- Denise Martin

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